Three years ago last month, I made the decision to migrate my personal Facebook Profile to a new author Page. There were several reasons for that decision, among them the ability to access insights about the Likes on my Page. But the most important reason was the 5,000 friend limit on a personal Profile while there is no limitation on the number of Likes/fans who can follow a Page. It seemed like a good move, and indeed, since I now have over 11,000 Likes/fans on my author Page, it still seems so.
But three years ago, Facebook also allowed me to “hide” my personal Profile if I wished (only a friend of a friend could see it and only then as a recommendation). Back then, when someone searched for Robin Lee Hatcher, they saw my Page and not my Profile. My goal was for the only friends I would have on my Profile would be my family, folks from my church, and close personal writing friends, especially those authors who didn’t have Pages.
I almost never posted to my personal Profile. I used my Profile to visit the Profiles of others and to join a few groups, like the one for my church family. Ninety-nine percent of my FB posting was on my author Page. And for a time, that worked quite nicely for me. I rarely had to decline a friend request, and when I did and explained I was using my Page almost exclusively, no one seemed to mind going there instead.
Then Facebook changed things. The new algorithms mean that any fan or business Page is lucky if 1% of their Likes/fans sees one of their updates in the News Feed. The only way those who Like a Page (or friend a Profile for that matter) can be certain they will see what is posted is if they mark to get Notifications for that Page or Profile. Facebook also made it impossible to semi-hide a personal Profile from public view. The algorithm change is frustrating. The inability to make a Profile more private is maddening (especially for someone whose “business” name is the same as their real name).
So in April, I threw up my hands and admitted defeat. I no longer keep my personal Profile for family and close friends only. I no longer decline friend requests (except for those that come from creepy guys who troll Facebook … shudder). Many of my updates and graphics go up on both timeline walls, although some only go on my Page and some only go on my Profile. There’s a logic to it in my head, although I’m not sure others would understand it.
My main reason for being on Facebook is so I can interact with people, especially with my readers. I love the ease with which we can communicate there. So now I am using both Page and Profile for the same reason and (mostly) in the same way. And even though the 5,000 friend limit is still in place, the ability to follow a Profile (not around when I switched to using a Page) has mitigated some of the frustration over that limitation.
Facebook changes the rules and changes how things work all the time. It’s hard for any user to guess how long things will remain the way they are today.
If you are on Facebook, the main tip I would give you is this: Choose to get Notifications from the people and Pages you most want to hear from. Following/friending/liking isn’t enough anymore. Notifications are the only guarantee that you will see their posts.